Russia 138th in a world index of charity work
CAF Russia has published the results of a survey (http://www.cafrussia.ru/CAFRussia/research/research_worldgivingindex/), showing statistics for private charitable giving by 95% of the world’s population, and for the first time allowing a comparison between different countries in charitable activity. The research by CAF is based on the results of a world-wide survey by Gallup, the most thorough conducted so far in the sphere of charitable work and the only one so far to give a global evaluation. It was conducted in 153 countries. The unique nature of the results is due to the fact that it assessed not only financial contributions, but also voluntary work, on the grounds that simply assessing the sums donated would make people in wealthier countries appear to be more generous in their donations. The results were used to draw up a word index of charitable activity of various kinds, taking into account cultural specificity and traditions. The index provides in percentage form the average involvement of the population in three forms of activity: donations to charity; volunteering; and giving help to strangers in need. Russia appears in the index in 138th place, with the following ratings: 6% for donating to charity; 20% for voluntary work; and 29% for helping people in need. The first and second places in the index are held by Australia and New Zealand, third and fourth – Ireland and Canada, fifth and sixth – Switzerland and the USA. The results revealed an interesting fact: the degree of involvement in charitable activity is more closely linked to the extent of people’s satisfaction with their own lives, i.e. how contented people consider themselves, than to the prosperity of the country they live in. This debunks the stereotype that people in wealthy countries are more charitable.
The Director of CAF Russia, Maria Chertok, commented that Russia’s position is unimpressive, and without a radical improvement in the conditions for charitable work, Russia would continue to sit at the bottom of the world ratings index. She said that the enthusiasm of some individuals and organisations is clearly not enough. A broad consensus needs to be formed, supported by new legislation. The index was described as a remarkably successful idea by the executive secretary of the Donors’ Forum, Natalya Kaminarskaya. She considers the indicators used as universal, because no matter what political system they live under, or however their civil society is organised, anyone could answer the questions posed. But she does not think Russia’s position near the bottom of the league table is quite accurate, as Russians do not always consider what they do as charitable work. Further effort is needed to discuss this issue among professionals, along with further information campaigns about charitable activity.
The Chief Editor of the journal “Money and Charity” and of the internet portal
www.philanthropy.ru, Matvei Masal’tsev, thinks that one reason why Russia is so low in the index is due to the factor highlighted in the research, i.e. the degree of satisfaction people have with their lives, or the “happiness” coefficient, which is a key factor in the growth of charitable giving. In the Happy Planet world ratings for happiness, Russia is below the top 100, as it is in the charity index. Another reason, he thinks, is the low level of development of infrastructure for charities, and the lack of confidence people have in philanthropic organisations. A further factor is the lack of social consolidation in Russia. Masal’tsev found only one reason for optimism – that quite a large percentage of Russians (29%) are willing to help strangers in need. Russian NGOs need to seek out these people and establish for them a transparent, effective and comfortable infrastructure for their private efforts.
Yekaterina Chistyakova, Director of the charity “Give Life”, said that the index omitted one factor, the dynamism of the process in Russia. Charity work in Russia is growing. It has travelled a long way over the past 20 years. “We have begun to help one another and this can only bring good results, even if this takes some time. Russia is a large country and large societies take longer to mobilise.”
Valeriya Kurakina – public relations officer at CAF Russia; tel. (495) 792-59-29, +7-926-223-99-55, ?¬µ-mail: email@example.com